La Liga champions Atletico Madrid are willing to pay over €22 million to secure the services of Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla this summer. The Champions League finalists, who were linked with the Spain international last July, have identified the 29-year-old as the perfect replacement should they lose any of their creative midfielders during the current transfer window.
This is according to Spanish newspaper Marca, who claim Atletico could make an offer to Arsenal for the diminutive player who has made a big impact at the Emirates Stadium since his £12 million move from Malaga in 2012. In 95 appearances with the Gunners, Cazorla has scored 19 goals, including a crucial free-kick in last month’s FA Cup final against Hull City. The Spaniard played an instrumental role in helping Arsenal win their first trophy since 2005.
However, there’s a risk that Cazorla may find himself used in rotation more often next season, even though Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has passed on the opportunity to re-sign Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who looks certain to complete a £30 million move to Chelsea within the next few days.
Although Cazorla can play through the middle or from the flanks, Wenger must also fit the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta and Mesut Ozil into his starting line-up next season. Another midfield option could also be on the way if the Gunners’ manager gets his way.
Atletico are expected to lose several of their star players, including striker Diego Costa and left-back Filipe Luis. Midfielder Diego Ribas is also poised to leave the Vicente Calderon, while Koke is the man Atletico are desperate to keep. The Spain international has been linked with Barcelona and Chelsea - and should Atleti lose the 22-year-old, Cazorla will be their first-choice replacement.